To Sum Up: My 2020 Reading Experience

Hello!!! I realize that I’ve been very quiet here on the Blog this year. However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t reading! Reading was definitely happening in my life!!!! And I was posting mostly on my page on Instagram. You can find me there @red5sbooknook to see all the books I posted about this year!

At the beginning of 2020, I knew I wanted to focus more on the quality of books that I would be reading instead of striving for a certain number of books to read in the year. I still set a goal for myself and tracked my books, but it wasn’t my focus. Now, at the end of 2020, I feel that I’m pleased with the quality of books that I chose. So many great books that I found it difficult to narrow down a Top 10 Favourite Books. However, even that focus of quality over quantity, the number of books I read this year has been my highest ever! Not sure how that happened! It doesn’t feel like I read more than usual, but I guess I did!

Pictured below are the books that I received for Christmas!!! Most years I buy my own gifts and then I know exactly what’s under the tree for me. This year I was ready for a change! I submitted my book wish list to my hubby in October, asked him to please shop at our local indie bookstore, and trusted that he would purchase books from that list. He did all of that and then he created a book scavenger hunt, with clues, for me to find my books on Christmas Day!

So, it’s been a pretty good reading year for me, and I feel good about my Christmas book haul as well! I hope you’ve experienced good things with books during 2020. And here’s to more happy reading in 2021!!!

Did you receive any books for Christmas? Do you have a favourite bookish moment from this year? Please comment below! I’d love to hear from you!!

House of Dreams

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg, illustrated by Julie Morstad

This was such a lovely book about one of Canada’s most famous authors. I learned so much about Montgomery, especially about how hard her life actually was (although I’m sure words can never convey what she actually experienced). This was a birthday gift I received last month, and it’s been on my TBR for a long time. So glad to finally read it! It’s a must-read for any fan of Montgomery or any of her books!

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 14/13!!

 

All Our Wrong Todays

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

The concept of this book was quite different than what I usually read. It was interesting and somewhat confusing to keep track of everything. I really enjoyed how short the chapters were, which made it feel as if I was reading faster lol. I definitely needed a reading break after finishing this one, lots of interesting conepts to consider. It’s great if you’re into time travel, and it’s about Toronto so somewhat “local” to me lol.

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 13/13!!

Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano

Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn

If you have kids in your life who enjoy a good mystery story, allow me to introduce you to Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen!!! This was a fantastic book! It was published earlier this year and my eldest son and I were able to attend an author signing event. He was SO excited about this event: meeting a real author and getting a copy of the book signed by the author! Definitely a highlight!
So we just finished this book today, having originally started reading it together for #middlegrademarch. The last few chapters I was encouraged by my kid to “Keep reading! Don’t stop! One more chapter” and the like. An excellent read-aloud book! It’s a fictional book/series based on Agatha Christie, and it kept us enthralled and guessing who was the culprit!
A must-read!

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 12/13!!

The Forgotten Home Child

The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

This was such an absolutely beautiful, yet heartbreaking, story! It’s not always an easy read, but it’s an important, and little-known, chapter of Canadian history. I had never heard of the British Home Children before hearing about this book!

“2018: At ninety-seven years old, Winnifred Ellis knows she doesn’t have much time left, and it is almost a relief to realize that once she is gone, the truth about her shameful past will die with her. But when her great-grandson Jamie, the spitting image of her dear late husband, asks about his family tree, Winnifred can’t lie any longer, even if it means breaking a promise she made so long ago…
1936: Fifteen-year-old Winny has never known a real home. After running away from an abusive stepfather, she falls in with Mary, Jack, and their ragtag group of friends roaming the streets of Liverpool. When the children are caught stealing food, Winny and Mary are left in Dr. Barnardo’s Barkingside Home for Girls, a local home for orphans and forgotten children found in the city’s slums. At Barkingside, Winny learns she will soon join other boys and girls in a faraway place called Canada, where families and better lives await them.
But Winny’s hopes are dashed when she is separated from her friends and sent to live with a family that has no use for another daughter. Instead, they have paid for an indentured servant to work on their farm. Faced with this harsh new reality, Winny clings to the belief that she will someday find her friends again.” (Goodreads)

I highly recommend this book to any who’s a fan of Canadian history, historical fiction genre, and who wants to educate themselves on this topic. Lots of research went into the writing of this story and a lot of what happens in the book came from actual experiences of real British Home Children.

Grab some tissues and get into this book!

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 11/13!!

Start the year off with some Reading Challenges!!

Here we are at the beginning of 2020 and I’ve already jumped in to planning for a few Reading Challenges for this year! Yay! It’s always a lot of fun, first of all, choosing which Challenges I’ll attempt, and second, searching for the books to use for each prompt!

So without further ado, here are the Challenges I’ll be working on this year:

The Popsugar Reading Challenge has sort of become the annual one that I always do. There’s always really interesting prompts which spurs me on to find interesting books to read. There are two categories from which to choose, the General section and the Advanced section. The General consists of forty unique prompts, and the Advanced has ten additional prompts all around the number twenty! Very fun! Here’s the link to check out this Reading Challenge.

 

I’ve been following the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog (written by Anne Bogel) for a few years and have decided to try the Reading Challenge this year! I love that this Challenge is simple and focuses on quality books over quantity. Not sure if I’ll attempt this one alongside the other Challenges, but will keep you posted! Please click here for more info on this Challenge.

 

Over on Instagram I’m also participating in the #ClassicsCommunity 2020 Reading Challenge. Each month there’s one classic to read, and then I’ll post about it and use the hashtag to share my thoughts about it. Not sure, yet, whether I’ll be able to participate in it each month…it’ll depend on whether I can find the books! My public library has about half of them, so I’ll be thrifting the others if/when I find them!

Another Instagram Challenge that I’ll try is the #NativeLiteratureChallenge2020. This one is new to me and I’m excited to find books to fit these prompts!

So, I think that’s enough to be getting on with this year. I’ve got some variety in there and am thrilled to be continuing my reading journey as I discover all sorts of books and authors!

Will you be participating in any Reading Challenges this year? If so, please share below!

Rilla of Ingleside

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

The eighth book in the Anne of Green Gables series, this one is all about Rilla, Anne and Gilbert’s youngest child, and World War I. It’s filled with the charm of the Blythe family and their friends and neighbours, mixed with the harshness of war and all that goes with it. From start to finish, Rilla does grow up in this book as she tackles situations that she normally wouldn’t have.

Anne’s children are almost grown up, except for pretty, high-spirited Rilla. No one can resist her bright hazel eyes and dazzling smile. Rilla, nearly fifteen, can’t think any further ahead than going to her very first dance at the Four Winds lighthouse and getting her first kiss from handsome Kenneth Ford. But undreamed-of challenges await as the world of Ingleside becomes endangered by a faraway war. When her brothers go off to fight and Rilla brings home an orphaned newborn in a soup tureen, she is swept into a drama that tests her courage and leaves her changed forever.” (Goodreads)

This book, along with the rest in the Anne series, is a must-read for any Montgomery fan!! There are moments of humour and moments of tears, but definitely a worthwhile read.

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 10/13!!

A Grandmother Named Love

A Grandmother Named Love by A.S. Compton

This was written by a Canadian author, A.S. Compton. This book was inspired by the year she spent living in Botswana.

I found it fascinating how Lorato could take on the challenge of raising  seven children on her own, with some financial help from a few of her children.

“Lorato lives a comfortable but lonely life in her retirement years, alone in the home her husband had built in their rural village in southern Africa. She becomes a grandmother when she adopts Lesedi after the death of a neighbour. Then six more children come into Lorato’s care. Now primary caregiver for seven grandchildren, she struggles to feed them all, to teach them right from wrong, and traditional ways of life in a world shifting and modernizing. We see how AIDS, as well as cultural changes, disrupt traditional life. When something tragic and horrific happens, Lorato and Lesedi face a real crisis that may forever change the course of their lives.” (Goodreads)

I don’t want to say too much more about this book, because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. If you have any interest in reading books set in Africa and that deal with HIV, this is a book you should read.

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 9/13!!

Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel

Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel by L.M. Montgomery, adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler

As a life-long fan of Anne Shirley (the Megan Follows/Jonathan Crombie CBC version is an absolute favourite, and the books from when I was a child), it was only a matter of time before I read this graphic novel. I was quite impressed with the loveliness of this book. The adapter and illustrator  did an incredible job of capturing the spirit of Anne in this version of our beloved and enthusiastic heroine.

Schoolyard rivalries. Baking disasters. Puffed sleeves. Explore the violet vales and glorious green of Avonlea in this spirited adaptation.
The magic of L.M. Montgomery’s treasured classic is reimagined in a whimsically-illustrated graphic novel adaptation perfect for newcomers and kindred spirits alike. When Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan who can help manage their family farm, they have no idea what delightful trouble awaits them. With flame-red hair and an unstoppable imagination, 11-year-old Anne Shirley takes Green Gables by storm.
Anne’s misadventures bring a little romance to the lives of everyone she meets: her bosom friend, Diana Barry; the town gossip, Mrs. Lynde; and that infuriating tease, Gilbert Blythe. From triumphs and thrills to the depths of despair, Anne turns each everyday moment into something extraordinary.
” (Goodreads)

I came across this page and just had to pause on it for a few moments. It’s definitely a fave quote and I just love the illustration that totally brought the quote to life! I also realized that we’re currently in the month of October; I hadn’t planned to read this book this month, but it was very appropriate and cozy!

 

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 8/13!!

Rainbow Valley

Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This is book #7 in the Anne of Green Gables series. I’d never read this one before, but am slowly making my way through the series. The Meredith children really do get themselves into some interesting predicaments as the children of the Minister. I think my fave moment was when Faith and Una mistakenly clean the house on Sunday! Lol. What a fine kettle of fish!

“Anne Shirley is grown up, has married her beloved Gilbert and now is the mother of six mischievous children.
These boys and girls discover a special place all their own, but they never dream  of what will happen when the strangest family  moves into an old nearby mansion. The Meredith clan is  two boys and two girls, with minister father but  no mother — and a runaway girl named Mary Vance. Soon the Meredith kids join Anne’s children in their private hideout to carry out their plans to save Mary from the orphanage, to help the lonely minister find happiness, and to keep a pet rooster from the soup pot. There’s always an adventure brewing in the sun-dappled world of Rainbow Valley.” (Goodreads)

Have you read the entire Anne series? I read the first six books when I was a preteen-ish person, but hadn’t read them for years after that. Going through the series now within the last few years, I’m finding a brand new appreciation for these stories! I’m definitely an Anne and Gilbert fan, and it’s fun to see the next generation of their family (and their friends!).

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 7/13!!